As a dental health professional, you naturally understand two things: When patients don’t keep regular dental appointments:
- They potentially place themselves at risk of serious and even life-threatening health risks that can be avoided when detected and addressed early through regular dental exams.
- They lose financial benefits they’re entitled to when they don’t use or underutilize dental health insurance.
Your patients, on the other hand, aren’t focused on oral health all day. They’re focused on a wide range of things: jobs, kids, shopping, etc., meaning its easy for patients to forget to make and/or keep dental appointments. So, to boost dental recall, it serves patients—and your production schedule—to provide patients with the service of reminding them why making and keeping regular dental appointments is important.
Remind Patients that Dental Health Is Linked to Total Health
Though patients care about their total health, they typically don’t go looking for scientific studies that show the link between oral health and systemic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and bacterial pneumonia. Indeed, patients may not be aware that the link exists. So, as part of managing an effective dental recall system, let your patients know important facts about things like gingivitis, which is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
An important element here is third-party proof. You may know certain information is true and naturally be inclined to simply state the information. Yet in a time of conflicting online information when people are disposed toward proof, citing an impartial and trusted outside source like Dentistry Today or Harvard Health provides evidence patients can look up on their own, and puts weight behind your dental appointment communications. In other words, to strengthen patient trust and loyalty, don’t keep verifiable sources a secret from your patients when they’re applicable.
Remind Patients that Underused Dental Insurance Is Lost Money
When patients pay into dental health insurance plans and don’t use their insurance, they lose money in that they’re paying premiums but not fully utilizing the benefits to which they’re entitled, and it’s often not a conscious decision to forego or skip a dental appointment. As previously noted, people lead busy lives and sometimes just forget. Reminding patients to fully utilize their dental health insurance before they lose benefits shows patients that you have their backs.
The essential word in all the above is service. When you deliver your dental recall communications within the framework of helpful reminder information, you effectively inform patients that you’re there to help them manage their busy lives and make them easier.
This overall message gives your patients one more why to remain loyal to your dental practice, make appointments, and keep them.